Rich Hill defines the best hitter in baseball
The Red Sox have traded a righty reliever for a lefty.
The Sox continued to turn over their bullpen by completing a deal with the Marlins that sent Matt Barnes - who was designated for assignment by the team last week - to Miami in exchange for southpaw Richard Bleier.
Bleier - who is owed $3.5 million in 2023 while carrying a club option for $3.75 million in 2024 - will slot in as a key member of the Sox' bullpen, which needed some sort of lefty presence after moving on from Josh Taylor and Darwinzon Hernandez.
Going by their current 40-man roster, the Red Sox will head into spring training with Joely Rodriguez and potentially James Paxton as the only two southpaw options besides the 35-year-old Bleier.
To make room for Bleier on the 40-man roster, the Red Sox have designated right-handed pitcher Franklin German for assignment.
Bleier has back-to-back solid seasons with the Marlins, turning in 58 and 50 2/3 innings in 2021 and 2022, respectively. Last season, he fared far better against lefty hitters (.256 batting average, .676 OPS) than righties (.336/.883).
The lefty was significantly better in the second half of 2022, when he limited opponents to a .600 OPS in his final 12 outings.
Bleier is yet another product of Florida Gulf Coast University, joining fellow alumnus Chris Sale and Kutter Crawford. When the Rangers took him in the sixth-round of the 2008 MLB Draft, he was the highest pick in school history until Sale came along.
He has been with the Rangers, Blue Jays, Nationals, Yankees, Orioles and Marlins organizations. His best season came in 2017 with the Orioles when he finished with a 1.99 ERA in 57 appearances.
Of note (per Fangraphs/Wikipedia): Of major league pitchers who had pitched 240 or more innings from 2016 to 2021, Bleier was second in fewest walks per nine innings (1.41), third in fewest home runs per nine innings (0.58), fewest strikeouts per nine innings (5.02), and lowest fly ball percentage (18.7%), and fourth in ground ball percentage (63.5%).
Bleier has committed to play for Team Israel in the upcoming World Baseball Classic.